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Canadair Challengers Vs. Birds

Thu May 16, 2013 8:59 am

Had an incident at my local airport today. I work operations and was called out by the tower to the runway for FOD - when I got there it was a dead Cattle Egret that was in several pieces - just recognized it as the type because of the white feathers with some golden brown feathers on the largest section that was intact. It was a brand new fresh kill and the only two aircraft operating at the time were a Falcon 50 that landed and a Challenger 600 that departed. I saw a group of egrets flying away when the Falcon 50, but after meeting with the Falcon 50 pilot and we inspected the plane we didn't find any sign of a bird strike or ingestion. The tower contacted the Challenger that was on a long haul flight about the possibility of a bird strike, but the pilot was unaware.

Challengers have a high bypass ratio jet engine, so is it possible that it could ingest a bird the size of a Cattle egret with a Challenger- not a small bird by any means, the smallest of the American egrets but larger than a typical song bird or a crow - but I believe the bones are less dense than that of a crow - and not notice anything wrong with the plane while flying?
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Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:01 am

RE: Canadair Challengers Vs. Birds

Thu May 16, 2013 11:23 am

I took a bird through the engine in a Challenger. The only indication was a momentary surge in engine power as the bird went through. Not sure what sort of bird it was..medium sized it left a good sized dent in the engine cowl/inlet but no engine damage.

Likely any bird finding its way into a high bypass engine will exit out the bypass and not the engine core.

Here are some pictures of a Challenger that was reported to have encountered a Colorado. A pelican in Colorado? Caution: Don't look at the pics if you're squeamish.

[Edited 2013-05-16 04:26:53]
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Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2004 11:33 pm

RE: Canadair Challengers Vs. Birds

Thu May 16, 2013 12:56 pm

The mere fact that you found sections of the bird intact suggest it was not ingested by the engine. Birds do impact other parts of the aircraft that ends in its untimely demise. Very likely it hit either the wing, vertical or horizontal stabilizer.
You are said to be a good pilot when your take-off's equal your landings.
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Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:33 am

RE: Canadair Challengers Vs. Birds

Thu May 16, 2013 9:38 pm

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Thread starter):
and not notice anything wrong with the plane while flying?

In my experience (bird strikes on landing), it is really obvious that you've hit something. In a GA plane, it sounds like a shotgun blast, and the sound kind of echoes through the airframe for a second or two afterwards  Wow!

However, takeoff is a busy time, with lots of noisy things going on in the cockpit (and in most bizjets, the flight crew is also wearing state-of-the-art noise cancelling headsets) is entirely possible that the first indication anything went wrong will be when they find blood, feathers, and a dent somewhere on the airframe   Also in my experience, inspection panels are great at trapping feathers from birds that you hit.

If you witness something like this happening, go back to the FBO and try and catch them on the UNICOM frequency. I did this once for a guy in a vintage Lockeed twin once who left us a main gear wheel on our runway (with no cockpit indications that anything was amiss). He circled for ~4 hours to burn off all his fuel before landing, gear up, on a foamed runway at the big international airport   The bird flew again with minor sheetmetal work. He feathered the props on final once landing was assured and used the starters to turn the blades horizontal...
Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)

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